Medieval Fairy Tale Weekend ~ 2017

When I stepped out of the woods on Saturday morning, I thought I’d gone back in time!

Right there in our very own office circle, was a pair of traditional blacksmiths!

While Rick and Jen worked, everyone walking by was a lord or lady, king or queen!!

What the heck was going on?  Did I go back in time?

Coooool!

Wait. What if there’s stocks?  Or gallows?  You know, sometimes, I’m kind of a naughty moose, playing tricks on Tami and stuff.  And I heard the Knights back then didn’t mess around.  My cute little face and impressive antlers weren’t going to get me out of trouble here . .. .

Waaaaaait a minute!  There’s a truck at the gate!  And Ben in the golf cart!!

I didn’t go back in time!  It’s Medieval Weekend!!!!

The blacksmiths were working hard hand-forging some cool iron work samples. I snuck a peek at their wares . . .

Fire pokers . . . key rings . . . plant hangers and even some roses!

These were Jen’s samples on her key ring. Aren’t they cool!!??

and here’s Tami’s favorite . . . a snake!!

I started looking around and WOW, did we have a ton of stuff going on!

There was a porridge eating contest . . .

Tami never lets me do that, she says it’d take too much scrubbin’ to get the oatmeal out of my fur!

But I wished I’d made it to jousting!  These kids are brave!

The viking ship races looked awesome, too.  I love all the boats!

they were so clever!

And at Arts and Crafts, we made swords and shields and crowns!

Doesn’t everyone look king-ly? And at the hayride, we were all given whistles.  Our parents and grandparents thought that was the greatest thing ever!  You know, because of all the noise we could make.

On Saturday night, Hope and her crew from Wind Over Wings arrived with their raptors . . . nature-geek Tami LOOOOOOOOVES them. Really!

This is Pippin, a Saw-Whet Owl . . .

and Tansy, an Eastern Screech Owl.  These two were shown around the room to everyone who attended.

Hope and the other Wind Over Wings Staff, told us each raptor’s story. They can’t be released back into the wild because of limitations in flight or sight.

In the case of Queen Solomon, the Great Horned Owl, she can’t be released because she became humanized after being rescued and raised by a human.

Did you know that if you find a baby bird, you CAN put it back in its nest, or close to it, and their parents will still feed them?  We didn’t know that – but we’re glad we do now!

Tami fell in love with Zachariah the first time he visited. She ended up putting a raven named Bo in her third Cooper and Packrat adventure, Mystery of the Missing Fox, after learning how smart they can be.

They are problem solvers and love to play, too!

Hope showed us how an eagle feather makes a sound when you swish it through the air.

But an owl’s feathers do not make a peep . . .

That’s so they can be stealthy and silent while hunting.

What a fun weekend!  I learned so much and had a good time, too!

Thank you, Poland Spring Campers, for coming out to play!  Visit us again soon!

Our Eagles Are Nesting ~ 2017

Tami is obsessed. Obsessed, I tell you!

I showed up at the house to talk to her about all this snow, and how it’s piling up, and will it ever melt?!

But she just said, “Uh huh. Uh huh.” She never even looked up from her computer. I peeked over her shoulder and saw her editing photos of eagles on the nest.

That figures!  It must be April. She always does this when the our eagles nest . . . from now until those chicks hatch, it’ll be the eagles did this and the eagles did that . . .

 

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For example, last week she came back from her trek in the woods, all smiling and giddy.  She’d come from the lake and as usual, the eagle was sitting on the nest. She took a few pictures and had turned to head home when she heard a ruckus. When she turned back, she saw a juvenile eagle soar into view, the second adult eagle not far behind . . .

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At first, she thought the juvenile was after the nest, perhaps the eggs, but when she looked more closely at the photos, the adult had something in its talons.

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The juvenile was after the food.

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The second adult came back to the nest and together the two adults warned the juvenile off, as it soared over their heads.

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Eventually, the juvenile moved on and the adults settled down again.

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Once the danger had passed, Tami said the the second adult took to the air, it’s lunch still in its talons.

 

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I’m not sure I’d want to tangle with those eagles!

Then on April 1st, we had a giant April Fool’s snow storm, 13 inches of heavy wet snow. Tami and I trudged to the lake, worried about the eagles . . . and this is what we saw.

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Under all that snow, lies our eagle, with her eggs tucked under her.  I thought she’d be cold, but Tami said she suspected the snow acted like an insulation of sorts, keeping her and the eggs warm.

The next morning, when the sun came out, Tami and I went down again. She took this photo from the shoreline across from site 23, at 1,000 feet away, hoping to see down into the nest. At the time, she didn’t see anything but snow.

But once she cropped it   . . . see? See the white head?

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From our shoreline at 500 feet, this was the image Tami captured. That poor eagle!

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But by 3 o’clock in the afternoon, everything was back to normal!

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Be prepared, Tami’s gonna post a bunch of eagle photos from now until we open. They’ll be no stopping her, I’m afraid.  But as soon as you all get back here to camp, we can distract her with Clean Up Weekend and Spring Special Weekend photos. There’s so many of you camping with us this Spring! We’re going to kick off the season with a bang!

 

Winter Wildlife

Every day over school vacation week, I’ve gone to visit Tami, expecting her to be working hard on the manuscript for Cooper and Packrat’s fourth camping adventure. And every day David tells me she’s put on her snowshoes and trudged through the 35 inches of snow we got, to go down to the lake and visit the otter.  Sheesh!  Who’s the mascot around here anyway??

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Buuuuuut, I have to admit, that otter is kinda cute.

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Tami says those little ears, hear really well. And that nose, he can smell well, too. But otters don’t see so well. That’s how she’s able to get some good pictures of this shy guy.

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Today she was down there for two and a half hours!  As long as she stands really, really still, and she uses her adapter to extend her camera lens, she gets some okay pics when the little guy isn’t looking.

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While she was standing there a couple days ago, waiting for the otter to show up, a Common Merganser flew in!

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These duck-like birds act a lot like loons. They dive for fish, and carry their chicks on their backs.

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Loons don’t have that messy hairdo though!

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There wasn’t a lot of open water down there by the beaver hut, but this guy made the most of it.

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Today, the eagles soared as a pair over the house. You should have seen all the squirrels run for cover!

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There are extra sticks on the nest, so it won’t be long now. Nesting will happen sometime in March and I’m sure Tami will get pics for you!

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We’re looking forward to eagle chicks this year . ..

When The Campers Are Away . . .

While all of our campers are away, the wildlife comes out to play!

In early January, a Barred Owl perched on our front lawn for over four hours, hoping for a quick meal!

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He even sat right on top the bird feeder at one point!  The smaller song birds didn’t pay him any mind, but I swear the squirrels didn’t come back for days.

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He was not successful that day, but I can’t walk by a window, or go to the car without looking up to see if he’s returned.

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In mid-January, during an ice storm, the foxes burst into our backyard . . .

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At first we thought they were fighting, a territory thing.

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But it quickly became obvious, it was more of a mating thing.

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Love was in the air!

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And just last weekend, while I was hiking (wish it was snowshoeing) the camp trail, I came across an otter catching Sunday dinner down by the beaver hut!

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He lay next to holes in the ice, watching, waiting, then slipping soundlessly into the water.

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Most times he came out with nothing. But one time, he emerged with a fish!

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Holding it in his front paws, he ate it right there on the ice.

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I was quite a ways away and needed an extension on my 500mm lens in order to capture these photos.

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Even after 26 years, I’m still finding new creatures to photograph!

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We’ve seen the eagles, but there’s no signs of mating or nesting quite yet. It’s still early, though. Normally, they begin to nest at the end of March, with the chicks being born around May 1st.

Come back often for updates on them!

Eaglet Twins 2016

Every Spring the campers and I stand lakeside with our binoculars and cameras pointed at the eagle nest. The big question is  . . .

Is there one eaglet in there?

Or two?

I’ve been taking pictures for a little over a week now, and I kept seeing this

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and this . . .

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and this . . .

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and even this!

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And while that was all beautiful and interesting and full of inspiration . . . it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Finally, today, I saw it!

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One!

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And then . . .

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Two!!!

I’m so excited to find we have two eaglets this year!! It’s going to be fun to watch them grow.

2016 Eagle Nest

 

Yesterday, I donned my snowshoes to trek through the campground to the lake. I was anxious to check on the eagle’s nest. Not that its time for them to be sitting on it, but one of the sure signs they’ll be nesting, is if I have proof they’ve added to it recently.

Here’s the nest last March, just before nesting season began.

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Here is what I saw yesterday . . .

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You can see where they’ve added a stick here and a branch there.

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Things are looking good for a nesting pair!!

Every year I worry about the weight, though.  The wildlife biologist who’d come to band the eagles a few years ago had said it weighed approximately 700 to 800 pounds!  Can you imagine!?

I saw no sign of the eagles that day, but they’ve been here.  These pictures prove it.

I’m looking forward to documenting our nesting pair this year!  To give you a timeline, they were sitting on eggs March 24th last year. I happened to be at the lake during one of their mating attempts a few weeks before that. And the eaglets were born a week before we opened the campground May 1st.  We still have a few weeks to go!

But it’s worth the wait.

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Halloween One 2015!

 

The Halloween decorations went up on Thursday the 13th,  and all the little campers were most excited!!

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Our usual Thursday recreation has Sandcastle building on the playground . . . .

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And boy-oh-boy, did they ‘go to town’ with their building!  Look at the details!  The American Flag . . . the roads . . .

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And is that a bridge??  Impressive!

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What a cute little city!

On Friday, after Storytime, Bocci, and Bubble Play, Debbie took the little campers to the lake for a Nature Walk.  Along the way, they picked up all kinds of nature items to make Lake Monsters for the Costume Party on Saturday.

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FINALLY, Saturday was here! The BIG DAY!  Kids stampeding all over the place!!

At Arts and Crafts, we made site markers so the campers could mark their sites if they were giving out candy. We made lots and lots and lots of them . . . .

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In hopes there’d be lots and lots and lots of campers TO give out candy.

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Then we made Frankensteins!

Eureka!!

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It’s Alive!!!

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Well, kinda-sorta alive!!!

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We shot water balloons, made jewelry, had an adult horseshoe tournament and joined the  scavenger hunt and THEN . . .

It was witch’s stew eating time!!!

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Tami just won’t let me do this, no matter how hard I try!!  I pleaded!  I begged!!  But she firmly said no!

I wonder why?

 

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We tried to have a Pumpkin Parade . . . we gathered .  . .

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But all of a sudden we heard rumbling and Tami cried, “Is that THUNDER????”  She and Debbie shooed us inside as fast as they could.  We played games instead and tried to guess the how many candy corns were in the jar.

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We kept one eye on the skies as the minutes ticked by . . . . 3 o’clock.  4 o’clock.  The skies cleared a bit and the sun peeked out.  5 o’clock.  6 o’clock.

6:30!!  Time for Tami to give the rules!!  And then she makes us pose for a group photo.

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Before she finally sends us out to trick or treat!!

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We got tons and tons of candy!!

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When we’d gone to every campsite that had a marker, we went down to the lake for a costume party and snacks.

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We all love having the party at the lake!

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There’s all kinds of cool games to play for prizes.  And Sammie gives Tattoos too!

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She said the magic spell, tapped the tattoo with her wand and Abracadabra!!  The perfect Tattoo!

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I was amazed!!!  Maybe this time, finally, after all these years, the tattoo would stick to my fur!!  I crossed my fingers to help the magic . . .

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But it didn’t work.  Sigh. One of my little campers gave me a ghost sticker though!  I love my little campers!

And their costumes!

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Before the party ended, I made sure to get myself a Halloween Frosting Stick and a glass of Tami’s special punch.

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Choosing the sprinkles is always the hardest decision!

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When I saw the sun setting over the lake, I was so sad. I didn’t want Halloween to end.  I wanted to hang out with my little campers for ever and ever.  And ever.  I scuffed my feet in the dirt when Tami told me it was time to go.

 

But a pretty girl came over to tell me Halloween wasn’t ending yet!!  We had a whole week of recreation ahead of us!

“And trick or treating?  Another party?” I asked.

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“We’ll do it all over again next Saturday”, she said, before giving me a kiss right on my nose.

Yes!!  Halloween again!!  I can’t wait!!

 

And We’ve Started the 2015 Nesting Season!

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The happy couple is expecting!  And if Tami’s calculations are correct, they should be born right around opening day.  Which means, we’ll be able to get a head count (when they can hold up their heads) around two weeks after that.

Tami has marked it on her calendar. She’s all ga-ga and well, you know how she gets about her eagles and her loons.

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Look at how big the nest has gotten!  Isn’t that like, an eagle mansion or something?

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The last time we saw the nest grow to this size, there were triplets.  But Tami keeps telling me that we already had triplets, just a couple years ago.  And THAT was a miracle.

But I can’t help wondering . . .

Because they’re still adding to it!  Tami just watched the mate of the nesting eagle bring a branch in today!

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Tami still has to put on the snowshoes to get to the lake.  She tried to go without yesterday, ’cause she was in a hurry, but she sunk up to her knees one too many times.

There’s still ice on the lake too.  We can’t wait for the wood ducks, geese and loon to get back.  Tami’s getting a little tired of taking pictures of chickadees, Red-breasted woodpeckers, and nuthatches, as cute as they may be.

We’ll keep you posted on those eagle babies!

 

Five to Ten Days From Now . . .

 

A quick, quick post, because it’s past my bedtime and if Tami catches me on the computer, I’ll get grounded!!

But it’d be worth it to show you these!  Look!

We’ve been watching the eagles bringing grasses and pine boughs to the nest for about a week or so.

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They’re pretty picky about how everything gets arranged too.

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AND then we got to see something pretty cool –

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The eagles mated.

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This will give us a timeline for when the eggs will be laid and for when we can expect eaglets!

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So, 5 to 10 days from Wednesday, means we’ll see an adult sitting on the nest between 3/15 and 3/20.  And then we’ll see eaglets between April 19th and 26th  !

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Tami’s already marked it on the calendar.  We can’t wait to see how many there are this year.

 

2014’s Halloween One

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Well.  You woulda thought it was Halloween around here, or something!

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It was!  It was Halloween!

I thought it’d take forever to get to my favorite part, the trick or treating and the party and the haunted house . ..

But there was so much to do, the time just flew!

(Hey!  I made a rhyme, and I didn’t even try!)

(Hey!  I did it again!)

There was the usual stuff on the Friday schedule;  Story Time, Bocci, Bubble Play and a Ghostly Cow Hunt.

What?  You’ve never done a Ghostly Cow Hunt? You poor, deprived person.

But we also made our own Lake Monsters, to help decorate for Saturday’s party.

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And on Saturday, we had a Pumpkin Parade, Arts and Crafts, Water balloon Slingshot, and we made Frankenstein Monsters too . . .

Careful . .. careful . . .

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Ack!  It’s aliiiiiiiive, I tell you!  A-liiiiiive!

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After lunch there was an adult Horseshoe Tournament, Jewelry Making for teens, a Spooky Scavenger Hunt for the whole family and a Witch’s Stew Eating Contest.

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I wanted to try it too, but Tami said the stew sauce would stain my fur.

“Cool!” I said. “I’ll be a vampire for the party!”

She said, “No.”

Big surprise there.

Finally . . . Finally . . . It was 6:30pm!!!    I tried to get everyone to hurry up and start trick or treating to the sites where all the campers were waiting with their wonderful, tasty, yummy candy~

“Everyone stand in front of Frankenstein!”  Tami announced.

Oh, pumpkins!  I wasn’t fast enough.

She made us stand this way, then that way.  Little ones in the front, taller ones in the back.  Squish together.  Look at me.

She took photo after photo after photo . . .

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and the gazillion parents standing with her,  took photo, after photo, after photo.

“Hey!” I yelled, “Those poor kids are gonna get eaten by Frankenstein!”

“Oh Maxx!” Tami said, “Stop kidding around! He isn’t real!”

When the last camera was lowered from the parental eyes, I thought, Great! We can go!

But Tami had to stand on her little stool and give the

*insert eye roll here*

RUUUUUUULES.

FINALLY, she said, “Go have fun!”

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Doesn’t she realize we’d get seven extra minutes of trick or treating if she didn’t do all that picture-taking-rule-spouting-stuff!

I want some of those M&M’s . . .

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and some of those lollipops . . .

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and some of those Air Heads and – wait!

Is that Frankenstein looking at me??

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I think he’s looking at me.

Oh! Check out all the candy this smart trick or treater has!

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When my little camping friends and I had all the candy our bags could hold, we headed to the lake. What a party Debbie and Maggie had set up!

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So many games! Like darts, eyeball stacking, tic-tac-toe toss, bean bag toss, and the fishing-pole-hat-on-the-head challenge.

What?  You’ve never tried the fishing-pole-hat-on-the-head challenge?  Where have you been camping??  Well, I’d have a picture of it, if Tami hadn’t of been  blah-blah-blabbing with all the customers.

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The campers could get a tattoo too, but not you-know-who –

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“It won’t stick to your fur,” the nice tattooing attendants told me.

There were prizes!  Like these cool, plastic,  glow in the dark, vampire teeth!

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Um ~ I think they’re plastic.  Right?  Plastic?

I got to meet so many cool campers . . .

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in so many cool costumes!

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And look at this!

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That is an impressive amount of ribbons!  All from my faaaaaa-vorite place!

Poland Spring Campground!

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She’s been collecting them for years.

I even got to play the games myself.  Maggie’s is my favorite.

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And we can’t forget the grrrrrreat snack!  Frosting covered pretzels.

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When the party was done, and we’d picked everything up, Tami and I checked out the sunset.

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“Going to the Haunted House, Maxx?”  Tami asked.

“Yep,” I said.  “Going to hide in the store again this year?”

“Yep.” she said.

I sighed.  “I wish Halloween could last forever.”

“It can’t last forever, but it can last a week,” Tami said.

“Oh!” I cried, “That’s right! We get to do it all again, don’t we!?”

“We do!” Tami planted a kiss on my nose.

“Can we uninvite the Frankenstein’s though?” I asked.

Tami crossed her arms, and tipped her head to one side.  “Why on Earth would you want to do that?”

“‘Cause I don’t trust them!  I caught the big one in front of the store, trying to gobble up Maggie and her pet Octopus today . . . ”

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“Oh, Maxx!”